While Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to be embroiled in a public feud with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro has taken to Twitter to post videos he took while inside a CBP facility after "smuggling" in his phone.
"Our border patrol system is broken," tweeted Castro, twin brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro. "And part of the reason it stays broken is because it’s kept secret. The American people must see what is being carried out in their name. The [Hispanic Caucus] led a delegation of members of Congress to visit 2 border patrol facilities."
"This moment captures what it’s like for women in CBP custody to share a cramped cell—some held for 50 days—for them to be denied showers for up to 15 days and life-saving medication. For some, it also means being separated from their children. This is El Paso Border Station #1," he wrote along with a video of a group of women in one of the cells. He also posted video of showers at the Clint Border Patrol Station.
On Monday, Castro and Ocasio-Cortez were among a delegation that included Congressional Hispanic Caucus members that visited two border facilities. Upon leaving the first, Ocasio-Cortez posted a series of extreme accusations against CBP officers.
"Just left the 1st CBP facility," she wrote in a series of tweets. "I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress." She added in another tweet: "Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress. I brought it up to their superiors. They said 'officers are under stress & act out sometimes.' No accountability."
CBP officials have pushed back strongly against her accusations. As The Daily Wire reported, one of the officials who has refuted her claims is National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd, who spoke with Breitbart News Tonight. Ocasio-Cortez's inflammatory claims, including that she was "threatened" by CBP officers, he said, are "false."
“I'm calling on CBP to release that footage so they clearly show that she was treated with the utmost dignity and respect," said Judd. "Let the cameras speak," he stressed. "The cameras will prove her wrong and they will prove that she is being false.”
"Nobody is forced to drink out of a toilet and nobody is told to drink out of a toilet," Judd said of the Democrat's repeated claim. “It's completely and totally a baseless and ridiculous allegation and frankly it needs to be investigated and she needs to be exposed."
“She gives absolutely no contexts to these allegations that she is making and by not giving context she is trying to paint a false narrative and a false picture and she needs to be held accountable for that," he said.
Amid heightened skepticism about her claims, Ocasio-Cortez has since admitted that she did not in fact hear an officer tell a woman to "drink out of the toilets" and that the cells contain toilets that are linked to the sinks, which contain potable water, context she curiously left out in her initial accounts.
Another controversy related to the CBP and Ocasio-Cortez that occurred Monday was the discovery of two posts allegedly shared on a Border Patrol Facebook group page that contained lewd references to the congresswoman, as reported by ProPublica:
CBP has since responded. “Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees," said Matthew Klein, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Professional Responsibility. "CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation."
CBP Chief Carla Provost also issued a statement condemning the "inappropriate" posts and vowing to take action: “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”